The Lion and The Hare - Panchatantra Stories

Also Read

In a certain jungle, there lived a lion named Bhasurak. He was very powerful and used to kill the other animals without discrimination.

One day, all the boars, antelopes, buffaloes, hares, and the others went together to the lion and prayed to him, ‘Master, why do you persist in killing so many of us every day so unnecessarily, when one animal would satisfy your hunger? Please come to an understanding with us. From today onward we promise to send to you, one animal everyday for your food, if in return you guaranteed that we shall be able to wander about unmolested in the jungle. In this way, you will have no trouble maintaining yourself and we won't be killed so indiscriminately. Sir, it is said that as by taking medicine in small doses, man grows strong.

So too a king becomes powerful by taxing his subjects bit by bit.

A cow must be well cared before she yields milk. A king must take care of his subjects, if he wants to get the best out of them.

On hearing this, Bhasurak said, It’s very true, what you say, but if I don’t receive one animal everyday, then I shall eat every one of you!’

All the animals promised that they would keep their word.

Accordingly, every day they drew lots, sent one animal to the lion and roamed in the jungle, unafraid.

One day it was a hare’s turn. Forced by the other animals, he made his way to the lion, slowly and very much against his will.

On his way, the hare was considering how he might kill the lion, when he came to a well. He leaped up on the edge and saw his reflection in the water. At this, he thought to himself, ‘Now I know a way that won’t fail. I’ll deceive the lion.

The time when the hare reached the lion, the sun was setting. Bhasurak was in a fury because he had been kept waiting. He licked his lips hungrily and said to himself, ‘The first thing I’ll do tomorrow is kill all those animals!’

When he was thinking this, the hare came slowly and stood before him.

The lion flared up and began to shout at him, ‘You miserable creature! First you are too small and secondly you are late. Well, for this, I’m going to kill you immediately and I’ll kill the rest of them in the jungle by tomorrow morn.

‘Master,’ politely replied the hare, ‘it is not my fault nor the fault of the other animals. Please listen to me.

‘Hurry up and tell me before I crush you!’ said the angry lion.

‘Well’, said the hare, ‘today it fell to my lot to come to you. Because I am small, they sent four other hares with me. On the way, a huge lion came out of the den and cried, “Ho! You! Where are you going? Call upon your chosen deity!” And I said, “Sir, we are all going to our master Bhasurak at the appointed time to fulfill our promise.”

And he said, “Who is this Bhasurak? I’m the master of the jungle! You should fulfill your promises only to me. Bhasurak is an imposter! I shall hold four of you hares as hostages while you go and challenge Bhasurak to a trial with me. Whoever turns out to be stronger, deserves to be king of the jungle and only he shall eat all the hares!”

‘And so,’ continued the hare, ‘I have come to you as he ordered me to. That is why I am late. Now, do as you like.’

Bhasurak said, ‘Friend, if this is true, then take me there immediately so that I can pour out on him all my rage against you and then I shall be satisfied.

‘My Lord,’ said the hare, ‘it is the truth, but this lion lives in a stronghold. It’s difficult to attack someone who is hiding in a stronghold, it is said that a they say — A single archer, behind the wall of a castle can fight a hundred men of the enemy.’

On this, Bhasurak replied, He may have hidden himself in his stronghold, but just show me and I’ll kill him, it is said that, “Suppress your enemies and diseases at the very beginning or they will become strong and destroy you.”

That’s true,’ replied the hare, but I’ve seen him. He is very strong. It would be unwise of you to approach him without finding out exactly what is strength is, for it is said that - He who attacks an enemy, without knowing his strength, is sure to be destroyed.

‘That’s not your concern,’ said Bhasurak, just take me to him!’

‘Very well sir,’ said the hare, ‘come along with me.’ The hare went ahead so as to lead the lion to the very same well.

‘When they reached the well, the hare said to the lion, ‘My Lord! Who can withstand your power! The imposter has seen you coming and has hidden himself in his well!’

Hare pointed out the well.

The foolish lion saw his reflection in the water and imagined that it was his enemy. He roared fearfully and at once his roar was doubly re-echoed from the well. He leaped in upon him and as a result, he was drowned.

Pleased with himself, the hare went back to the jungle and told the other animals what had happened.

They showered him with praise and then all lived happily ever after.

Moral of The Story “And so,” continued Damanak, “that’s why I said - It’s the clever man who is powerful. Now, if you think fit, I shall use my cleverness to create dissension between the lion and Sanjivak.”

“If you can,” said Karatak, “Then please do it. May God protect you.”

One day, shortly afterward, seeing Pingalak sitting apart from Sanjivak Damanak bowed humbly and stood before him.

“My friend!” said Pingalak. “Where have you been hiding for so long?”

“I didn’t come,” said Damanak, “because you wouldn’t have anything to do with me. But I have come now, of my own accord, to talk with you because I see the impending destruction of all your administration.

When he heard Damanak speaking so intently, Pingalak asked him, “What are you saying to me?

My Lord, replied Damanak, “Sanjivak hates you! This very bullock that you consider to be your friend, is your enemy. He told me in confidence, ‘Damanak, I have got to know all about Pingalak’ strengths and weaknesses. I am going to kill him and want to become king of the animals. Then I shall appoint you as my minister’.”

On hearing, this Pingalak was flabbergasted, as if a thunderbolt had struck him, and he could not speak.

Damanak saw this and thought to himself, “Pingalak certainly has too much confidence in Sanjivak. Undoubtedly this will lead to Pingalak’ destruction.

After a little Pingalak recovered himself and said, “What Shall I do? Sanjivak has become as dear to me as my own life. I cannot believe that he could betray me like this, still, my mind is not poisoned against him.”

“Your Majesty,” said Damanak “you are making a great mistake. In any case, what particular virtue do you see in Sanjivak? He is a fellow without qualities! If you think that he is a heavy animal and will help you to
kill your enemies, you are wrong. He is a mere grasseater and all your enemies are carnivorous. So, the best thing you can do is accuse him of some offense and kill him.”

“To find fault with someone after praises,” said Pingalak, “is like breaking an oath. Besides, I have given my word, as you advised me to, that he would be safe. How then can I kill him with my own hands? Sanjivak is a real friend to me, I have no reason whatever to be angry with him. Even if Sanjivaka has turned traitor to me, I shall not lift my hand against him.”

“Your Majesty.” replied Damanak, “to take pity on an enemy is against the royal code. And if you follow this non-violent creed, where will the others get meat from? If they forsake you, you too will die. When you are in the company of Sanjivak, you don’t even think of going out hunting. ‘In the company of the wicked, the good follow the wrong path, hence the wise shun the company of wicked men’ and refrain from entertaining a man whose character is unknown.

Though the bug was at fault but instead they killed the flea.

On this Pingalak asked anxiously “How was that?” Damanak told this story. THE BUG AND THE FLEA

Previous Post Next Post